City Sports Report

The End Of The Andre Johnson Era In Houston

Andre Johnson is headed on his way out of Houston (photo courtesy AP/ Patric Schneider)

Andre Johnson has been a man amongst boys for majority of his time in the AFC South. During his entire career, he has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL despite being thrown to by quarterbacks like Matt Schaub, David Carr among others. And even with the subpar quarterback play, he has the highest catch per game average in NFL history (six catches per game). He has been one of the best in the game for a long time, but eventually everyone has their time that the ride seems to be over. Well, the Texans felt that time was now when they told the veteran from the University of Miami that his role would be reduced. The organization reportedly felt that he should not be starting anymore and that he would get only 40% of the snaps. To that comment, Johnson laughed. What else would you do when you feel you have been insulted by the organization that pays you? And recently, the organization has given Johnson permission to seek a trade. Johnson’s agent has requested a release from the organization instead and it has become apparent that he will be playing his football somewhere else next year. It’s amazing how you can go from being an essential part of an organization to a player the team is ready to move on from.

Many veterans end up facing the reality that Johnson is facing with organizations. It may not seem like it right now, but Texans defensive star JJ Watt will have to face the same decision one day as well. It’s the nature of the beast of the NFL that organizations use your talent up as much as they can. And when they time comes, the organization wants to revisit the bargaining table again, wanting you to take a paycut to stay somewhere or a lesser role than what you have been playing. To a lot of veterans, this comes as a culture shock. They are no longer the big focus and have become the sidepiece. For Johnson, the time has come for him in Houston to make a choice as to what he wants to do. And his choice has been made that he wants to leave the only professional team he has ever known. At 33, they believe he is done. And as painful as it may seem, the organization could be correct on this one. He has lost something and it is very evident in the numbers that he produced last season.

In the 2013 season, Johnson had Matt Schaub throwing him the football for parts of the season along with two other backups. But the inconsistency at quarterback did not stop the numbers he was putting up. Johnson ended the 2013 season with 109 receptions for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns. It seemed like he was going to defy age with the great speed that he exhibited still. But unfortunately the 2014 season happened. Johnson was battling injuries all of the 2014 season, but he also was doing so in the 2013 season as well. It seemed like he could just never get it going like the previous year. Johnson was also playing in a new system that may not have been conducive to all the things that he does. But there were no excuses for Johnson and his play. Johnson had a drastic dip in production. Johnson went from 109 receptions to 85 and he recorded almost 500 less yards receiving. For a veteran receiver that they would be paying $10 million in 2015, it just did not make any sense for them to keep him around and not producing for the amount of money paid. So the organization did what they felt they had to do and tried to faze him out. Of course it does not look good for Houston from the fan perspective. The fans of that team grew with Andre Johnson and he will more than likely be the first Hall Of Famer of the Texans. But in business there can be no feelings. It just did not make sense for the Texans to keep him around at the number he wanted to be at. And now the Texans look to build around defensive star JJ Watt and the crew along with trying to build the wide receiver group potentially around speedster DeAndre Hopkins.

As for Johnson, he has achieved great numbers over his career, but he has not one the elusive Lombardi Trophy. He still wants to get paid, but he also wants to win again. The decision he has to make going forward is if he wants to be paid more than in position to win a title. The money can sustain you more after you get done playing. You may be on a bad team, but there would be financial gains in your near future. A team like the Oakland Raiders could pay him but they could also be a team that could lose a lot. But there is also a team that has already caught traction in the rumor mill: the New England Patriots. Tom Brady has had some efficient receivers, but he has only had one star wide receiver: Randy Moss. And in that first year, he had one of the best passing seasons in his career. Johnson obviously is not Moss, but he can give the Patriots a threat they did not have and a bigger receiver they need as well. Potentially the best cap/chance of winning situation for Johnson is actually somewhere within the current division of the Texans actually. The Indianapolis Colts have cap space and they have a need for another wide receiver. Johnson would fill the void they have and also be able to get paid what he wants. And the Colts have shown interest in having his services. And another bonus with the Colts is Johnson would be playing with the best quarterback he has played with in Andrew Luck.

Father Time seems to catch up with all of us at one point or another. And in some situations like professional sports, the organization tries to set that time for you. In this instance, the Texans are trying to tell Johnson it’s about over. But Johnson is not ready to give this up on their terms. His will isn’t going to let him do so. And the will and desire to play and play at a high level has led to his exit in Houston.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

2 Comments

  1. REGGIE

    March 5, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I Fully DIS-agree that Andre Johnson is done and that he’s lost something. Last Season, he had 3 Quarterbacks throwing to Him who have been Career Backups & Journeymen. Yes, he 500 Yards less than the previous Season – but, Again from QBs who were on a Much Lesser than Matt Schaub, and under a New System & a New Coach. The Texans also had NO Tight End from losing Owen Daniels – and, RB Arian Foster missed signicant Games due to his Injuries. With ALL of that said – including a Poor Offensive Line, Andre Johnson still had 85 Receptions – which is Still a Solid Number…its just that for “Andre Johnson”, its considered he’s lost it; aged, slowed down; etc. NO, he Hasn’t. DeAndre Hopkins has Speed – but, his Route Running needs to Improve, and his Hands are still Suspect. The Bottom Line is, the Texans just DON’T want to pay Andre Johnson his Salary…NO-other WR in the League in that SAME Situation or ON the Texans in place of Him would have done better. Also, the Texans want J.J. Watt as the sole Face of the Franchise…Nothing wrong with that – for He IS their Present & Future…However, there is NO justifiable Knock on or Against nor reason to part ways with a Still Has It Player, who has been a Model Representative of the Franchise & Player of the Team, throughout. Finally, the N.F.L. – rather the WEAK, NO-regarded N.F.L.P.A. – needs to Get RID of the NONSENSE Salary Cap, which BILLIONAIRE Owners use as Excuses to NOT pay Players; Force to take Pay-CUTS; RELEASE Players; Etc.

  2. REGGIE

    March 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Another Enjoyable, Well Written Article by U. Continue on your Path of Destined SUCCESS…a Bigger Picture is Ahead & Awaits U.

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